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Journal Article


Perilloux C, Buss DM. Evol. Psychol. 2008; 6(1): 164-181.


(Copyright © 2008, The Author(s), Publisher Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young)






This study examined differences between men and women, and between individuals experiencing rejection (Rejectees) and individuals doing the rejecting (Rejectors) in romantic relationship break-ups. We tested fourteen evolution-based predictions about romantic breakups using data from 193 participants; ten received support. Women more than men, for example, experienced costly sequelae such as the loss of a mate's physical protection and harmful post-breakup stalking by the ex-partner. Both men and women who were rejected, compared with those who did the rejecting, experienced more depression, loss of self-esteem, and rumination. Rejectors, on the other hand, experienced the reputational cost of being perceived by others as cruel. Exploratory data analyses revealed that women more than men reported experiencing negative emotions after a breakup, particularly feeling sad, confused, and scared. Both sexes used an array of strategies to cope with the breakup, ranging from high base-rate strategies such as discussing the breakup with friends to low base-rate strategies such as threatening suicide. The largest sex difference in coping strategies centered on the act of shopping, used by women Rejectors as well as women Rejectees, likely a strategy of appearance enhancement prior to reentering the mating market. Discussion focuses on the adaptive significance of sex differences and individual differences based on rejection status. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)


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